Doctrine and Polity Papers
The Church of God’s Practical Commitments offer scriptural guidelines for practical Christian living.
We will demonstrate our commitment to Christ through our practice of the spiritual disciplines; we will demonstrate our commitment to the body of Christ through our loyalty to God and commitment to His church; and we will demonstrate our commitment to the work of Christ through our being good stewards.
We will engage in those activities which glorify God in our body and which avoid the fulfillment of the lust of the flesh. We will read, watch and listen to those things which are of positive benefit to our spiritual well-being.
We will live in a manner that inspires trust and confidence, bearing the fruit of the Spirit and seeking to manifest the character of Christ in all our behavior.
We will give priority to fulfilling family responsibilities, to preserving the sanctity of marriage and to maintaining divine order in the home.
We will practice temperance in behavior and will abstain from activities and attitudes which are offensive to our fellowman or which lead to addiction or enslavement.
We will demonstrate the scriptural principle of modesty by appearing and dressing in a manner that will enhance our Christian testimony and will avoid pride, elaborateness or sensuality.
It should be our objective to fulfill our obligations to society by being good citizens, by correcting social injustices, and by protecting the sanctity of life.
Mission and Vision
At the 2004 General Assembly, a set of seven commitments was adopted which reflects the Church of God's core values in regard to fulfilling its mission and vision.
Commitments to Our Mission and Vision
We commit ourselves to making prayer the highest priority of the church demonstrated by:
- Every local church becoming a house of prayer for all nations.
- Emphasizing communication with God as the highest privilege and greatest responsibility of every member.
- Modeling by all church leadership of an active and effective prayer life.
- Uniting with other believers in corporate and intercessory prayer.
(Isa. 56:7; Mark 11:17; Rom. 8:26; 1 Cor. 14:14, 15; I Thess. 5:17; I Tim. 2:1-4, 8; James 5:14, 15)
2. PENTECOSTAL WORSHIP
We commit ourselves to gather regularly as the local expression of the Body of Christ to participate in Pentecostal worship that exalts God, engages the heart, mind and soul, and challenges to deeper commitment and discipleship. This commitment will be demonstrated by:
- Assisting local churches in planning and preparing for meaningful, anointed worship.
- Equipping pastors and other worship leaders to lead authentically expressed, spiritually alive worship.
- Modeling varying styles and forms of worship that glorify God and encouraging outreach and service.
- Emphasizing the importance of Biblical stewardship and the centrality of God’s Word as elements of worship.
(John 4:24; Psalm 29:2; Rom. 12:1; 1 Cor. 12:4-11; Isa. 58; Mat. 25:31-46)
3. WORLD EVANGELIZATION
We commit ourselves to intentionally reaching the unconverted, baptizing them in water, and leading them to unite with the church. This commitment will be demonstrated by:
- Viewing all the nations of the world as our mission field.
- Encouraging our local churches to adopt and intercede for an unreached people group. Resource materials will be provided by the World Missions Department.
- Asking all national churches of the Church of God international to adopt and implement measurable steps to evangelize and disciple unreached people groups inside and outside of their own regions (Matthew 28:18-20; Romans 15:19-24; Revelation 5:9).
- Encouraging every local church to increase a minimum of 10% per year through conversion growth.
- Cultivating a genuine passion for the lost that will compel members to personally communicate the gospel of Jesus and demonstrate His love to those outside the faith.
- Discipling new believers and passing on our faith to the next generation.
- Practicing life-style evangelism.
(Mat. 9:37-38; Mat. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-18; Acts 1:8; Rom. 10:13-15)
4. CHURCH PLANTING
We commit ourselves to identifying, training and resourcing God-called church planters and to intentionally planting new life-giving churches. This commitment will be demonstrated by:
- Focusing designated resources of the local church, state/regional offices, and the international offices for planting new churches.
- Starting the number of church plants equal to a minimum of 3% of the total number of churches in a state/region/nation annually.
- Developing a certified training program in our Evangelism and Home Missions Department and educational institutions for church planters and home missions.
- Emphasizing the health and viability of new church plants as well as the number of churches planted.
- Affirming the different models of church planting for different situations.
- Recognizing church planting as an apostolic ministry for our day.
(Mat. 16:18; John 4:35; Acts 2:47; 14:23; Eph. 5:25-28)
5. LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
We commit ourselves to identifying and developing individuals whom God has called and given leadership gifts and challenging them to become servant-leaders. We will demonstrate our commitment by:
- Creating an environment in which men and women with ministry gifts are developed to serve as servant-leaders.
- Equipping, empowering and releasing lay leaders to serve as ministry partners both inside and outside the local church.
- Providing relevant resources and training opportunities for both clergy and laity.
- Encouraging pastors to lead through vision, to communicate the vision to the congregation and to organize the body and each of its ministry groups so the vision can be realized.
(Mark 3:13-15; 2 Tim. 2:2; 2:15; 3:14-17; Eph. 4:11-13)
We commit ourselves to the challenge of being a church that genuinely cares for one another and for those who are lost, hurting and needy. We will demonstrate our commitment by:
- Building loving, caring relationships within families, between members, and within the communities we serve.
- Obeying the Care Commission of Christ in Matthew 25.
- Cultivating compassion and showing mercy to the unloved, the undesirable and the unreached of our society.
- Establishing in each local church some type of outreach ministry that demonstrates our genuine concern and love for the disadvantaged or oppressed.
(Psa. 86:15; Mat. 25; Luke 6:36; Acts 20:28)
We commit ourselves to the principle of interdependence, acknowledging our interconnectedness and dependence on all the members of the Body of Christ. We will demonstrate our commitment by:
- Reaching out to others in the Body of Christ for collaboration, resource sharing and learning opportunities.
- Encouraging local churches to build relationships with like-minded and like-hearted churches in their communities to work together to reach the lost.
- Involving clergy in the processes of mentoring, coaching and consulting on the local, state, regional, national and international levels to increase the level of trust and support among ministers.
- Engaging in dialogue and partnership with local, national and international organizations who seek to fulfill the Great Commission
(Col. 2:19; 1 Cor. 12:14-31; Gal. 6:1-6)
At the 2014 International General Assembly, three more commitments were adopted:
That we commit ourselves to utilizing every available medium and means to effectively maintain open and perpetual communication with our constituency. This commitment will be demonstrated by:
- Understanding that communication is the process of exchanging information, imparting ideas, and sharing the message so it is understood by others.
- Exploring the best media choices available to enable the transforming message of Christ to all mankind and cultural contexts.
- Discovering new ways and means of efficient and effective electronic mediums to maintain continuous connection with our constituency.
- Empowering ministry resources available to the church for immediate response to the needs of the world and the mission engagement of the church.
- Employing every facet of communication to expand the global reach of Christ’s message, sustaining open exchange of ministry concepts, encouraging the strengthening and growth of local churches, enlisting and equipping the next generation of leaders, and fulfilling our mission and vision as a movement that is Christ-centered, people-oriented, and need-sensitive in all its ministry endeavors.
We commit ourselves to the Lord’s command to make disciples of all nations, to develop committed and faithful followers of Jesus Christ, and to be people of conviction identifiable by:
- Their commitment to know what they believe and who they are in Christ;
- Their competence through spiritual discipline, calling, and empowerment, and;
- Their character development, which will result in reproducing themselves, disciples making disciples.
This commitment will be demonstrated by:
- Understanding that discipleship must be intentional for all believers upon their acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Savior. If we are to retain them, they must be taught and have someone who will disciple them.
- Asking every church to prioritize discipleship in every facet of their ministry. Everything that is planned and executed in the local church should be identified as part of the discipleship process for those who are involved. The local church must understand that the growth process is ever evolving and must provide a framework by which growth can happen.
- Providing resources and discipleship experiences that will assist pastors and church leaders in the discipleship process, understanding that models may vary, but the outcome will be committed Christ followers.
- Understanding that passing the faith to the next generation will require making disciples of all ages. Discipleship must begin at the earliest age and continue.
(Matthew 5:43-48; 22:37-38; 28:19-20; John 14:15, 21-23; 15:10; Acts 1:8; 2:1-11 , 41-47; Romans 12:1-2; 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12:4-11; Galatians 5:22-25; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-23; 2 John 6.)
We commit ourselves to education as a vital part of all phases of the Spirit-filled Christian life. Education is to be nurtured by the church: locally in rural areas, towns, and cities; regionally in counties, states, and geographical regions; internationally in every country with a Church of God presence; and globally on every continent of the world. We will demonstrate our commitment by:
- Developing and fostering means of self-education with access to educational resources.
- Recognizing local-church institutions which provide education in church and/or school formats.
- Affirming in public places those who minister in education.
- Sponsoring educational institutions of higher learning to equip laity, ministers, institutions, and ministries.
- Providing curriculum and materials which affirm the doctrines, practices, mission, vision, and commitments of the Church of God.
The following Doctrinal Commitments represent the core beliefs of the denomination as outlined in Scripture.
- Repentance. Mark 1:15; Luke 13:3; Acts 3:19.
- Justification. Romans 5:1; Titus 3:7.
- Regeneration. Titus 3:5.
- New birth. John 3:3; 1 Peter 1:23; 1 John 3:9.
- Sanctification subsequent to justification. Romans 5:2; 1 Corinthians 1:30; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Hebrews 13:12.
- Holiness. Luke 1:75; 1 Thessalonians 4:7; Hebrews 12:14.
- Water baptism. Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:9, 10; John 3:22, 23; Acts 8:36, 38.
- Baptism with the Holy Ghost subsequent to cleansing; the enduement of power for service. Matthew 3:11; Luke 24:49, 53; Acts 1:4-8.
- The speaking in tongues as the Spirit gives utterance as the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Ghost. John 15:26; Acts 2:4; 10:44-46; 19:1-7.
- The Church. Exodus 19:5, 6; Psalm 22:22; Matthew 16:13-19; 28:19,20; Acts 1:8; 2:42-47; 7:38; 20:28; Romans 8:14-17: 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17; 12:12-31; 2 Corinthians 6:6-18; Ephesians 2:19-22; 3:9, 21; Philippians 3:10; Hebrews 2:12; 1 Peter 2:9; 1 John 1:6, 7; Revelation 21:2, 9; 22:17.
- Spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 12:1, 7, 10, 28, 31; 1 Corinthians 14:1.
- Signs following believers. Mark 16:17-20; Romans 15:18, 19; Hebrews 2:4.
- Fruit of the Spirit. Romans 6:22; Galatians 5:22, 23; Ephesians 5:9; Philippians 1:11.
- Divine healing provided for all in the Atonement. Psalm 103:3; Isaiah 53:4, 5; Matthew 8:17; James 5:14-16; 1 Peter 2:24.
- The Lord's Supper. Luke 22:17-20; 1 Corinthians 11 : 2 3 - 2 6.
- Washing the saints' feet. John 13:4-17; 1 Timothy 5:9, 10.
- Tithing and giving. Genesis 14:18-20; 28:20-22; Malachi 3:10; Luke 11:42 ; 1 Corinthians 16:2 ; 2 Corinthians 9:6-9 ; Hebrews 7:1-21.
- Restitution where possible. Matthew 3:8; Luke 19:8, 9.
- Premillennial second coming of Jesus. First, to resurrect the dead saints and to catch away the living saints to Him in the air. 1 Corinthians 15:52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17; 2 Thessalonians 2:1. Second, to reign on the earth a thousand years. Zechariah 14:4; 1 Thessalonians 4:14; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10; Jude 14, 15; Revelation 5:10; 19:11-21; 20:4-6.
- Resurrection. John 5:28, 29; Acts 24:15; Revelation 20:5, 6.
- Eternal life for the righteous. Matthew 25:46; Luke 18:30; John 10:28; Romans 6:22; 1 John 5:11-13.
- Eternal punishment for the wicked. No liberation nor annihilation. Matthew 25:41-46; Mark 3:29; 2 Thessalonians 1: 8, 9; Revelation 20:10-15; 21:8.
Declaration of Faith
The Church of God believes the whole Bible to be completely and equally inspired and that it is the written Word of God. The Church of God has adopted the following Declaration of Faith as its standard and official expression of its doctrine.
In the verbal inspiration of the Bible.
In one God eternally existing in three persons; namely, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
That Jesus Christ is the only begotten Son of the Father, conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary. That Jesus was crucified, buried, and raised from the dead. That He ascended to heaven and is today at the right hand of the Father as the Intercessor.
That all have sinned and come short of the glory of God and that repentance is commanded of God for all and necessary for forgiveness of sins.
That justification, regeneration, and the new birth are wrought by faith in the blood of Jesus Christ.
In sanctification subsequent to the new birth, through faith in the blood of Christ; through the Word, and by the Holy Ghost.
Holiness to be God's standard of living for His people.
In the baptism with the Holy Ghost subsequent to a clean heart.
In speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives utterance and that it is the initial evidence of the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In water baptism by immersion, and all who repent should be baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
Divine healing is provided for all in the atonement.
In the Lord's Supper and washing of the saints' feet.
In the premillennial second coming of Jesus. First, to resurrect the righteous dead and to catch away the living saints to Him in the air. Second, to reign on the earth a thousand years.
In the bodily resurrection; eternal life for the righteous, and eternal punishment for the wicked.
Church of God is…
The Church of God was founded in 1886 upon the principles of Christ as they are revealed in the Bible, the Word of God. It has its foundation of faith and practice in the Scriptures and the vital experience of its constituents is scripturally oriented.
First and foremost, the Church of God is a determinedly Christian church. It is built upon the person of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The doctrines and practices of the church are based upon His teachings.
The Church of God is founded upon the principles of Protestantism, although it is not a traditional follower of any specific leader of the Protestant Reformation. The denomination stands firmly for justification by faith, the priesthood of believers, the authority of the Bible, religious freedom, and the separation of church and state. It stands against abuses and extravagance of ecclesiastical ritualism and dogmatism.
The Church of God subscribes to the following five foundational Christian doctrines:
- The inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible.
- The virgin birth and complete deity of Christ.
- The atoning sacrifice of Christ's death for the sins of the world.
- The literal resurrection of the body.
- Christ's second coming in bodily form to earth.
Evangelical is the term used to describe those who affirm the primary doctrines revealed in the Scriptures. These doctrines include the inspiration and authority of the Word of God; the Trinity; the deity and virgin birth of Jesus Christ; salvation by faith in the atoning death of Christ; His bodily resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father; the ministry of the Holy Spirit; the second coming of Christ; and the spiritual unity of believers in Jesus Christ.
The Church of God has aligned itself with the basic statement of faith of NAE (National Association of Evangelicals) the largest association of Evangelicals in the USA. Members of NAE subscribe to a common statement of faith. The Church of God can be described as positioned in the mainstream of Evangelical Protestantism.
In 1896, many members of the Church of God experienced a spiritual outpouring they identified as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Because it was so similar to the experience of the early Christians on the day of Pentecost, it came to be called a Pentecostal experience, an enrichment of the Christian life through the power of the Holy Spirit that empowered believers to be effective witnesses of Christ. The principle distinctive of the Church of God as a Pentecostal organization is its belief in speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance and that this is the initial evidence of the baptism in the Holy Spirit.
The charismata (Gk.) or gifts of the Spirit appeared early in the life and ministry of the Church of God. The gifts can be divided into three categories: the gifts of revelation, the gifts of power and the gifts of utterance or inspiration. The gifts of revelation are the gifts of the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge and the discerning of spirits. The gifts of power are faith, miracles, and gifts of healing. The gifts of utterance and inspiration are prophecy, tongues and interpretation. The Holy Spirit bestows these gifts and those who accept the validity of these gifts are called charismatic.
From its inception the Church of God has been a revival movement. Evangelism has been in the forefront of all its activities. The church has maintained an aggressive effort to take the message of Christ throughout the world by all means and methods. Every program of the church reflects an evangelistic attitude: revivalism, conferences, worship services, teaching, preaching and its missionary efforts.
The magnitude of the Great Commission requires a united effort. This united endeavor is efficiently served by guidance, support, resources and leadership from a common center. The Church of God is centrally organized. Centralized church government is administration from the international, state or territorial and local levels. It helps facilitate the fulfillment of the mission of the church.
The control of the Church of God rests with the laity and ministers, who jointly form a governing body called the General Assembly which meets biennially. Benefits of centralized government include the following: uniformity of doctrine and practice; principles that bind together local churches in the same manner; membership commitments in all churches; expansion and extension of fellowship; accountability; cooperative decision-making; and united efforts in evangelism and world outreach.
MINISTERS AND LAITY
Ministers in the Church of God are ranked as ordained bishops, ordained ministers, exhorters, ministers of music and ministers of Christian education. They achieve these levels of ministry through a profession of faith, commitment to the church, training, internship and fulfillment of credential requirements. The Church of God emphasizes the doctrinal position of the priest-hood of all believers and encourages laity to assume a Biblical role in local church ministry.
Emphasis upon education and training is a priority of the Church of God. Educational opportunities are provided from local congregations through institutions of higher learning at the international level of the church.
UNIVERSITIES, COLLEGES, AND SCHOOLS
The educational system of the Church of God features all levels of instruction from certificates to doctoral programs. Lee University, located in Cleveland, Tennessee, is the Church of God's oldest and largest educational institution at over 5,000 students. Founded in 1918, it offers graduate and under-graduate degrees in more than 100 areas of study. Founded in 1975 and one of only six Pentecostal seminaries in the U.S., the Pentecostal Theological Seminary (Cleveland, Tennessee) is the denomination's largest graduate institution, offering masters and doctoral programs. Other notable and established institutions around the world include Asian Center for Christian Ministries (Manila, Philippines), European Bible Seminary (Kniebis, Germany), Seminario Ministerial Sudamericano (Quito, Ecuador), and Eurasian Theological Seminary (Moscow, Russia). In addition, World Missions maintains 80 Bible Schools around the world. For a more complete list of information on additional schools and programs, visit the Education tab of this website.
A CARING CHURCH
From its beginnings, the Church of God has felt its responsibility to benevolence ministries. The church operates a number of specialized programs and institutions.
- Homes For Children
The Church of God operates three homes for children in the United States. These include the Smoky Mountain Children’s Home, Sevierville, Tennessee, North Carolina Home for Children, Kannapolis, N.C., and the South Carolina Home for Children, Mauldin, S.C. There are also many children's homes and mission works around the world.
- Widows / Retired Ministerial Couples / Widowers
The Iris B. Vest Widows Center recently changed its name to The Iris B. Vest SpiritCare Center so that widows, widowers, and retired ministerial couples can have a place for retirement living. Please view the website for an application or call Shane Smith 865.365.0225 to receive an application. The Center is located on the campus of the Smoky Mountain Children's Home, Sevierville, Tennessee.
- Youth and Unwed Mothers
Heart of Florida Youth Ranch, Citra, Florida, and New River Ranch, Fayetteville, West Virginia, offer help and counseling for troubled boys and teens.
- Operation Compassion
Several benevolence ministries including Helping Hands (providing medical assistance), Children of the World (children's needs worldwide) and Caravan of Compassion (inner city ministry) operate under the umbrella of Church of God Operation Compassion.
- Chaplaincy Ministries
Hundreds of Church of God chaplains serve a worldwide ministry in full-time and voluntary positions. They are chaplains and counselors in hospitals, jails, prisons and countless other agencies and institutions.
Due to the vast number of U.S. servicemen and women worldwide, the Church of God maintains ministry centers around the world. Listed below are the two areas that are involved in our ministry to the military.
- Servicemen's Centers
There are more than two dozen Church of God sponsored servicemen's centers operating in twelve countries around the globe. These centers offer fellowship, counseling and worship opportunities for servicemen and women on the field.
- Military Chaplaincy
The Chaplains Commission is vitally active in ministering to military personnel and their families. Ordained military Chaplains now serve in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard as well as the National Guard and Reserves. More than 100 Church of God ministers are active as military, reserve, institutional, correctional/law enforcement or specialized chaplains.
- Publishing House
Through the Church of God Publishing House and Pathway Press located in Cleveland, Tennessee, individuals can have access to a variety of printed materials including Sunday School literature, music and a variety of inspirational and religious books. The Publishing House produces denominational publications, such as the Evangel magazine, and offers an avenue for churches and ministries to obtain resources.
- Pathway Bookstore
Pathway Bookstore offers a full line of inspirational materials and resources for the local church.
The Church of God states its position on many issues of importance and global events through resolutions adopted at the biennial General Assembly. More than 40 resolutions adopted since 1968 are available for viewing on the Web site under the "Beliefs" tab and clicking "Resolutions."
The heart of World Missions ministry is the implementation of a global strategy of evangelism, church planting and training. Its scriptural purpose is to fulfill the Great Commission of Christ; share Christ's love for the world; minister to the totality of human need; bring men and women to the knowledge of God and His redeeming grace; and obey Christ by confessing Him to the world. Today, Church of God missions is carried out in 157 countries organized in eight geographical regions.
World Missions provides missionary services through the following: teaching or administering in educational institutions and programs; serving in medical ministries; planting new churches; working in relief and development efforts; and many other areas. Men and Women of Action exists as a humanitarian program. It organizes relief efforts following natural disasters and assists in church building projects around the globe. Volunteers in Medical Missions (VIMM) provides medical care and supplies to needy areas around the world. The Church of God provides avenues of outreach for the organization and supplies are provided through private donations.
(53rd A., 1970, p. 27, 28; 67th A., 1998, p. 54; 68th A., 2000, pp. 83-86)
The official name shall be Church of God (1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1: 1).
The Church of God is incorporated in the state of Tennessee (U.S.A.) as a not-for-profit organization and is recognized as a 501 (c) (3) corporation under the Internal Revenue Code (U.S.A.) or the corresponding sections of any prior or future Internal Revenue Code (U.S.A.).
The current edition of the Minutes of the Church of God General Assembly contains a Journal of the most recent meeting of the International General Assembly and a Supplement that includes updated church polity statements, rules of church order and discipline, and these bylaws.
The mission of the Church of God is to communicate the full gospel of Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:19, 20) in the Spirit and power of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4, 6, 13-18)(71st A., 2006, p. 44).
The membership of the Church of God shall be composed of Christians who have accepted the teachings, doctrines, and government of the Church of God, and who have been formally received into its fellowship pursuant to the guidelines established by the International General Assembly. Procedures for excluding members shall be set by the International General Assembly upon recommendation of the International General Council.
1. International General Assembly
The International General Assembly is composed of all members and ministers of the Church of God 16 years of age and above. Members and ministers of the Church of God present and registered at the International General Assembly shall comprise its voting constituency (64th A., 1992, p. 73; 65th A., 1994, Item 1, p. 78).
The International General Assembly shall meet biennially to consider all recommendations from the International General Council.
Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall serve as the official guide for the business of the International General Assembly in all matters to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the bylaws of the International General Assembly.
The International General Assembly shall elect the general overseer, the assistant general overseers, the secretary general, the general Youth and Christian Education director, the assistant general Youth and Christian Education director, the Evangelism and Home Missions director, the assistant Evangelism and Home Missions director, the director of World Missions, and the assistant director of World Missions (58th A., 1980, pp. 29-32, (1-4).
The officers of the International General Assembly shall consist of the moderator and a secretary. The general overseer shall preside as moderator. He shall also appoint parliamentarians to serve during the International General Assembly meetings. He shall also appoint members of committees called for by the International General Assembly.
The secretary general shall serve the Assembly as secretary. He shall be responsible for recording actions by the Assembly and shall be the custodian of the records of the Assembly.
Debate on all motions shall be governed by the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. Each member has the right to speak on every question. However, he cannot make a second speech on the same question as long as any member who has not spoken on the question desires the floor (Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised). It is the prerogative of the moderator to recognize each speaker and to determine a balance of negative and affirmative speeches.
Debate may be limited by a proper motion (Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised).
2. International General Council
The International General Council is composed of all ordained bishops of the Church of God, who shall comprise its voting constituency.
1. The International General Council shall meet biennially to consider all recommendations from the International Executive Council. The International General Council agenda shall be mailed to the ordained bishops at least thirty (30) days prior to the International General Council. (Minutes of the July 1966, International Executive Council, page 93)
2. The International General Council shall consider and prepare such recommendations as are Scriptural and proper in matters pertaining to the welfare of the church. Such recommendations are to be presented to the International General Assembly for final disposition.
3. The current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall serve as the official guide for the business of the International General Council in all matters to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the bylaws of the International General Council. As a guide for the order of business, the agenda presented by the International Executive Council shall claim the attention of the Council first.
4. Any new business shall be presented to the chairman of the motions committee, which committee shall receive, classify, clarify, eliminate duplication, and dispatch for placement on the agenda following the completion of the printed agenda. Any new business presented to the motions committee shall be presented in typewritten form not later than 2 p.m. of the third day of the International General Council.
5. The International General Council shall nominate to the International General Assembly the general overseer, the assistant general overseers, the secretary general, the general Youth and Christian Education director, the assistant general Youth and Christian Education director, the Evangelism and Home Missions director, the assistant Evangelism and Home Missions director, the director of World Missions, and the assistant director of World Missions.
6. The International General Council shall elect the Council of Eighteen (; 58th A., 1980, pp. 29-32 (1-4).
Officers and Committees
1. The officers of the International General Council shall consist of the moderator and a secretary. The general overseer shall preside as moderator. He shall also appoint parliamentarians to serve during the International General Council meetings. He shall also appoint members of committees called for by the International General Council.
2. The secretary general shall serve the Council as secretary. He shall be responsible for recording actions by the Council and shall be the custodian of the records of the Council.
Parliamentary Procedure and Authority
1. The names of all persons on the nomination ballots receiving twenty-five (25) or less votes for an elected office shall be posted in an appropriate designated place in lieu of reading those names to the International General Council.
2. Debate on all motions shall be governed by the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised. Each member has the right to speak on every question. However, he cannot make a second speech on the same question as long as any member who has not spoken on the question desires the floor (Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised). It is the prerogative of the moderator to recognize each speaker and to determine a balance of negative and affirmative speeches.
3. Debate may be limited by a proper motion (Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised).
3. International Executive Council
This council shall consider and act upon any and all matters pertaining to the general interest and welfare of the Church of God.
The general overseer, his assistants, the secretary general, and eighteen councilors [the Council of Eighteen] elected by the International General Council shall constitute the International Executive Council of the church.
At a time set by the general overseer, the International Executive Council shall meet and adopt recommendations to be brought before the International General Council.
Duties and Responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of the International Executive Council shall be set by the International General Assembly upon recommendation by the International General Council.
International Executive Committee—The executive officers of the Church of God shall be the general overseer, three assistant general overseers, and the secretary general. These shall constitute the International Executive Committee. Their tenure in office, manner of selection, duties and authorities, and procedure for filling vacancies shall be decided by the International General Assembly upon recommendation from the International General Council
Standing Boards and Committees—Standing boards and committees as called for by the International General Assembly or International General Council shall be appointed by the International Executive Committee. The general overseer shall be an ex officio member of all standing boards and committees.
The latest edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall serve as the official parliamentary guide for conducting the business of the church.
Amendment of Bylaws
The power to alter, amend, or repeal these bylaws shall be vested in the International General Assembly and exercised only by a two-thirds vote of the International General Assembly upon recommendation of a two-thirds vote of the International General Council.
In order to amend, alter or repeal these bylaws, previous notice will be considered fulfilled if the following guidelines to notify the constituency are observed:
(1) Mail to ministers whose addresses are on record at the Church of God International Offices in Cleveland, Tennessee, U.S.A., including national and territorial leaders, the notice and copies of the proposed change(s) to the Bylaws of the Church of God to be considered by the International General Council not later than 90 days prior to the opening of the International General Council. Pastors should make this notice available by public announcement and/or posting to their congregations.
(2) Include the notice and a copy of the proposed change(s) to the Bylaws of the Church of God to be considered by the International General Council in at least two issues of the Church of God Evangel preceding the opening of the International General Council.
(3) Post the notice and a copy of the proposed change(s) on the church's Internet web site.
(4) The proposed change(s) may be amended, but cannot be amended beyond the scope of the notice. Any change of the bylaws approved by the International General Assembly will go into effect immediately upon its adoption, unless the motion to adopt specifies another time for its becoming effective.